VA Crisis Through the Eyes of a Friar

Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Br. Frank Grimaldi, OFM Conv. shares his insights into care for Veterans. Br. Frank works as Social Worker and Chaplain at the Friends of the Soldiers Home in Holyoke, MA.  Here, he expresses his views of the VA crises that has been in the news recently.  He also give a great accounting of the facility and care given to veterans in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


Br. Frank Grimaldi, OFM Conv.

6/6/14 – Holyoke – Four veterans who were in the Normandy invasion were honored at the 70th anniversary ceremony held in the Holyoke Soldiers Home canteen. Invocation given by the Soldiers Home Chaplin, Br. Frank Grimaldi, OFM Conv. ( JOHN SUCHOCKI / THE REPUBLICAN )

The Soldiers Home at Holyoke is a 300 bed skilled nursing facility for Veterans living in the Commonwealth. We have a sister campus in Chelsea. Our revenue source is the general fund of the Commonwealth. We are totally independent of the VA.

There has been very little discussion here about the wait-times at the VA. We provide primary care medicine in house with very short wait times. However, we do partner with the VA for psychiatric and some other services. If a psychiatric bed is available at the VA, our veterans are generally placed within days of a request. The majority of our veterans go to private practices for specialty medicine. Wait times vary greatly as they do with the general population.

Overall, I believe the general impression of the VA is a good one. Most of our veterans are pleased with the services provided by the VA. Many national surveys of those that primarily use the VA for their health care needs give it high marks!

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